(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, March 2, 2023, in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.
ERITREA: Population: 5.5 million, Christians: 2.6 million
Located on the Red Sea, Eritrea is governed by a totalitarian regime that seeks to control every aspect of life. Some have compared Eritrea to the “hermit kingdom” of North Korea, as it is one of the most secretive and isolated countries in the world. In 2002, the government outlawed every form of religion except Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism, and the Lutheran Church. All other religious groups are illegal, and the government maintains tight control of approved churches, including their messages. Years of communism, required military service and economic depression have caused many Eritreans, including evangelical believers, to flee the country. But during the recent war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the Eritrean army was allowed to cross the border and destroy two Eritrean refugee camps, taking many refugees, including Christians, back to Eritrea. In the past few years, the government has released some Christian prisoners while arresting several new groups.
While the 2018 peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia ended a two-decade war, the benefits have been one-sided. Ethiopians may travel freely between the two countries, but travel for Eritreans is restricted by their government. Despite these hardships, the body of Christ in Eritrea continues to grow due to the faithfulness of church leaders inside and outside the country.
Major Religion: The population is nearly evenly divided between Sunni Muslims and Orthodox Christians. Only about 3 percent are evangelical Christians.
Evangelical churches must meet secretly. The government actively seeks to infiltrate these underground churches and imprison their leaders. About 400 believers are known to remain in prison, including several top leaders. Imprisoned Christians are not given a trial or allowed to see their families, many of whom do not know where their loved ones are imprisoned or even if they are still alive. Christians simply disappear and are assumed to be in government prisons. The conditions inside these “prisons” are some of the harshest in the world. Christian prisoners are provided meager rations and held in shipping containers in extreme desert conditions for years. When long-term prisoners are released, they are blacklisted by the government. They are unable to get jobs, are watched constantly, and their families lose opportunities. They still need extended physical and emotional help.
Bibles are available, but the government tracks each Bible sold. Christian literature is highly regulated, and most believers who want Bibles must smuggle them in. For this reason, many believers must access Scripture by digital means.
- Pray for the government, those in authority and Eritrea’s long-time leader, Isaias Afwerki.
- Pray for underground church leaders in Eritrea.
- Pray for the availability of more Christian resources in the Tigrinya language.
- Pray that the Lord will strengthen and comfort His believers who suffer severe exposure to heat and cold being locked up in shipping containers.
- Pray for the strength and perseverance of long-term prisoners and their families.
- Pray for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of recently released prisoners of faith.
- Pray that the Lord will raise up strong leaders for Eritrean churches.
- Pray for wisdom, discernment and boldness of believers as they seek to meet together, protect them from police raids.
- Pray for Eritrean believers in Tigray who have had to flee or have been taken by the army.
- Pray for NGO support to Christian prisoners and their families. To provide Bibles and Christian literature to believers inside Eritrea.
- Pray for good internet access so that believers can download scripture and encouraging messages.
- Pray for the Lord to protect Christians who left Islam or join from a church outside of the approved churches.
- Pray for the Christian youth who are required to serve in the military, even when they don’t want to.
- Pray that the Lord will hold His hand of protection over His believers who boldly share the Gospel.
Again, we want to lift-up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord:
- Leah Sharibu, a prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018, pray for her release.
- Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
- Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison
- For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years.
- Pray for Ryan Kohler, pilot for Mission Aviation who is in prison in Mozambique. While flying supplies to orphanages in the Northeast of the country, he and two others were detained and accused of supporting terrorism.
- “I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)
Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator
Prayer Conference Call Details
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
From any location on your phone
USA Time Zone:
9:00 PM Eastern
8:00 PM Central
7:00 PM Mountain
6:00 PM Pacific
Call in number: (667) 770-1476
Access Code: 281207#
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What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.
Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.
“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.
Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.
We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!
God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.
Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team
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Prayers for them.